Would you like to live in peace 24/7? My mother-in-law’s motto for life was Romans 12:18—“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” And that is what she taught her boys, and my husband tried to live by those words. He hated confrontation, and most of the time I was the one that had to “confront”!
One thing is to live in peace with others, and do our best not to offend anybody. But we are called not only to live in peace with our neighbors, but to live in peace with God and with ourselves.
PEACE is a fruit of the Spirit. Unlike regular fruit, that is seasonal, the fruit of PEACE is NOT seasonal. We can have peace 365 days a year!
My dear late husband, who was so set in living in peace with others, had a life-time job of having peace with himself. He was a worrier, as we say in Spanish: “first category”! When our youngest daughter came home from camp at age seven, she was all existed because of learning a perfect verse for her daddy: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
He knew in his heart and by experience how well the Lord took care of us, but he could never make peace in his mind. Sometimes he worried because he didn’t have anything to worry about!
The prophet Isaiah’s description of what Jesus took upon himself in his suffering for us shows that his purpose was to bring us PEACE. Let me highlight some of the words from Isaiah 53.
“Surely he took up our infirmities [grief]
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus took our sorrow, our grief, our sins, our sickness… all those things that bring sadness and depression. He took our punishment so we could have PEACE.
As humans we have a tendency to worry. According to Larry Hutton–a man who has a mandate to teach people how to live in PEACE— “worry is perverted imagination.” Worry, the most destructive habit, empties tomorrow of its strength. Most of us have experienced that the things we worry about generally don’t happen. This is what Africans say:
I you worry, you’ll die. If you don’t worry, you’ll die. So, why worry?
We can’t worry and have faith at the same time. As Peter says just before the verse my daughter learned at camp, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand.” We have to humble ourselves and leave the “worrying” to God. Our future is in his hands. Jesus is the PRINCE OF PEACE.
While pondering this subject, I realized how tight-knit righteousness and peace are.
Love and faithfulness meet together
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Love, faithfulness, trust in the Lord, a righteous life, and peace merge together in a kiss! There is no doubt about how much God wants us to have peace, as much as he wants us to have righteousness. Let me give you some nuggets from the Word of God.
“The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
“Peace I leave with you; [said Jesus] my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:17-18).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
“…we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:13-14).
We can have PEACE, we don’t have to worry. I’m listening to the news, and the situation for many people is not good. Many Americans worry, and humanly speaking they have reason to worry. But in the midst of all that is happening, if we know the Lord as our Savior, we can hold on to his promise of PEACE. He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
What I’m writing about here is not a fantasy. It’s tried and proven to work. I have been there–without a job and my family depending on me for survival; giving up everything, launching out in faith following a “call”; battling terminal illness in the family; surviving cancer… the list could go on. I KNOW that in the fiercest of trials, you can be covered in the PEACE of GOD.
One time, when our life seemed to be unraveling totally, I saw myself in the middle of a big lake (or was it an ocean?), the large waves, the dark clouds, the fierce wind—all of it around me, and I was sitting in a boat feeling the calmest of feelings, as if it was the sunniest and calmest day possible. It was an awesome feeling! I knew we were going to make it. And we did! And I know you will make, even if you feel like you’re in the darkest and most impossible place.
TRUST AND PRAY AND DO NOT FEAR
BECAUSE I AM WELL ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF YOU.”
The above were words God spoke to me in one of those “dark and seeming impossible” times. Whatever “care” you have today, you can “cast it” on the Lord. And leave it with him. Don’t take it back! Let righteousness and PEACE kiss each other. You can have PEACE 24/7. Don’t carry burdens that God is waiting with open arms to take in his care. That would be like using an umbrella when God pours out his blessings!
“Mercy, PEACE and love be yours in abundance” (Jude 2).